With Dinosaur Jr’s eleventh studio album Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not set to soundtrack any grunge fan’s summer, we thought we’d take our earplugs and venture through the Amherst trio’s back catalogue to try and find frontman J Mascis’ best – and there are many – guitar solos.

As the band are synonymous with blistering arpeggios and ear-splitting riffs, it wasn’t an easy choice, but here are five pieces of formidable fretwork that say more than lyrics ever could (although Mascis is quite handy with those, too).

5). ‘We’re Not Alone’ (from Beyond, 2007)

After the original trio of Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph unbelievably reunited in 2005, it was even more of a shock that their first comeback album, Beyond, rivalled some of their best work. ‘We’re Not Alone’ stands out for its contemplative, acoustic outro, which is complimented with some achingly supreme shredding.

4). ‘I Don’t Wanna Go There’ (from Farm, 2009)

Choosing the best solo from 2009’s Farm is like trying to choose your favourite Lou Barlow self-laceration – impossible. A record teeming with earnest riffery and complex chords, ‘I Don’t Wanna Go There’ never once outstays its eight-minute timeframe.

3). ‘Sludgefeast’ (from You’re Living All Over Me, 1987)

You’re Living All Over Me is still rightly lauded as one of rock’s most consistent and important records, with one of the standout tracks being the five-minute confessional of ‘Sludgefeast’, which matches Mascis’ reservations with a typically tumultuous solo.

2). ‘The Wagon’ (from Green Mind, 1991)

The band’s first major label album – and the first without Barlow – showed Mascis’ creativity and scope. ‘The Wagon’ is a breezy, but blistering, slacker anthem that became one of the band’s string of hit singles. Out of nowhere comes an uproarious solo that elevates the song into an all-time classic.

1). ‘Get Me’ (from Where You Been, 1993)

If you love Dino Jr. for their solos alone, ‘Get Me’ represents the high-water mark – not one, not two, but three guitar solos pepper this emotionally-crippling slice of introspection. The first one is commendably done by locum bassist Mike Johnson, but by the soaring, scorching finale, Mascis really shows him how it’s done.


Dinosaur Jr.’s new album will be released on 5/8 through Jagjaguwar. They’re on Facebook and Twitter.

Sam Lambeth is a Birmingham-based writer, journalist and musician. You can read more of his work at his blog, and he is also releasing a record for Teenage Cancer Trust. You can donate here.

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  1. IMHO, the solo at the end of Drawerings crushes everything on this list… As the song fades out with J still playing, it’s impossible to not wonder just how long J played for… He might still be playing that one…

    • YES! THE BEST solo ever!! Everytime I listen to it, I have to stop what I’m doing and just close my eyes. And I want to hear more when it’s fading out. What a guitar hero he is.

  2. Kracked. all the way. the fact that he’s not even playing anything too difficult, yet you can still feel the sheer power and emotion during the solo shows how much potential J has.

  3. Wow.. late comer for sure but what about the live version of Thumb on ‘Whatever’s Cool with Me’? Over 7 minutes long and the last half of it is CLASSIC J Mascis. So heavy and the breakdown in it still gives me chills. Listen to it! The runner up is the guitar solo in Raisins. Awesome and pleading!!


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